10 strategies to improve your customer experience
Companies are quickly realizing customer experience is a driving factor in both achieving new business and retaining customers long term. With 86% of consumers willing to abandon a brand due to poor experiences, the pressure is on companies to learn what their customers are looking for and deliver those experiences at scale.
To improve customer experience (CX), leaders must first understand exactly what it includes. At a high level, customer experience is any impression a consumer has about a brand after an interaction. This can encompass product offerings, company communications, customer service, and much more. That’s because CX is the overall feeling customers have from these interactions, and that impression impacts their desire to continue to do business — or not — with a company moving forward.
To help develop ways to improve customer experience for your brand, we’ve put together 10 strategies that can guide business decisions and operations in a positive way. The list includes:
- Listen to your customer
- Understand your customer
- Map your customer’s journey
- Hire and develop a strong team
- Listen to your team
- Deliver excellent customer service
- Connect with your customers
- Take an omnichannel approach
- Tap into artificial intelligence
- Create metrics and track ROI
10 ways to improve customer experience
Not only can a positive experience help brands engage with existing customers, but it can also help businesses stand out from competitors. By fostering a quality CX, companies can improve sales through retention and increase customer lifetime value.
As the quest for customers continues to feature more competition, brands are looking for new ways to create connections and meet ever-rising expectations. Here are 10 ways to improve the customer experience for your brand in today’s market.
1. Listen to your customer
While it may seem obvious, many brands overlook the significance of customer feedback. When looking for new ways to improve CX, look no further than the customers themselves. Their feedback can provide ample insight as long as companies check in with them regularly and in ways that support measurement and accountability.
With today’s technology stacks, leaders have many ways they can reach out to customers and capitalize on feedback. Some of the most common include surveys, which ask specific questions about experiences, services, and products to determine what customers really think about a brand and their engagement with it. The timeliest use of surveys is to send one via email after a specific interaction.
For real-time feedback, brands can also turn to options such as chat and social media. Companies can encourage customers to share their stories and experiences regarding new products, service interactions, or even the new ideas they would like to see a brand bring to market next.
Leaders can also consider implementing a voice of the customer (VoC) program. This creates a more formal framework to collect customer feedback, honing in on preferences and expectations around specific products or service lines. The input from these programs is used to help companies develop new offerings while making sure problems and complaints are addressed to avoid additional impact. Most VoC initiatives are tied to business goals to shape development plans, realign customer service approaches, and improve marketing efforts.
2. Understand your customer
Taking what you learned from listening to customers and analyzing it from a business perspective can create a deeper understanding of target segmentations and buyer personas. Leaders must take the feedback they collect and leverage analytical tools to better understand their behavior and how it can be used to further refine business operations and goals.
Some of this information takes the form of demographics and better insight into the target audience. This could include age, location, gender, purchase history, and more. Data can be used to identify trends and find out what is and is not resonating with different buyers.
This information may also lead to some key insights, such as new or different buyer personas that need to be broken out and addressed to ensure that messaging resonates across all customer types. It can also allow for greater personalization in messaging and customer service, which customers have come to expect. In fact, 73% of consumers expect brands to understand their expectations.
3. Map your customer’s journey
At a high level, a customer journey is the total of the interactions a consumer has with a brand, whether through direct contact or indirect review. For leaders to ensure satisfactory CX, they have to understand the steps an individual takes from prospect to actual customer. This includes listing out and analyzing all of the different touchpoints, pain points, and actions that impact the buying decision.
Here are just a few ways that mapping and understanding the buyer’s journey can help improve their impression of a brand:
- Reduce friction. Identify stages where consumers fail to move forward with a purchase decision and eliminate any hurdles to make the buying process more seamless.
- Optimize touchpoints. Consider the points where customers engage — or fail to engage — with content, and then refine messaging to better resonate for acquisition and retention.
- Provide seamless customer service. Consolidate marketing and customer support messaging to prioritize communications. Leaders can use tools to streamline support to align with the customer lifecycle to provide the right information at the right time.
Learn more about how to create an effective customer journey map.
4. Hire and develop a strong team
Quality trumps quantity when it comes to assembling a strong CX team, which can encompass everything from marketing to support. Businesses can always grow their teams to scale to demand. But having a solid foundation of a team that is well-trained on the essentials of a business — including both products and culture — can go a long way to ensuring customer satisfaction.
Make sure to provide all team members with training not just on the fundamentals of how products and services work but also how the brand as a whole expects customers to be treated. Whether they call in with a question or a complaint, consider the customer’s perspective and guide staff to be problem-solvers rather than just trying to push through a set quantity of calls, emails, or chat discussions each day.
5. Listen to your team
Leaders can also learn a lot from the people who are on the frontlines of customer interactions. Be sure to collect feedback not just from customers but also from customer support teams. These are the groups of people who are dealing with customers firsthand and can help leaders identify areas for improvement or patterns in consumer behavior worth addressing to improve the customer experience.
There are other added benefits that come from listening to existing employees. Consider that 80% of staff members who feel appreciated and heard work harder in the long term. In turn, this can have a direct effect on the quality of customer experiences businesses are able to provide. In contrast, 34% of employees are likely to leave a job if they don’t feel valued or recognized.
6. Deliver excellent customer service
Understanding a customer base and building a strong team are foundational to having excellent customer service, which often stands at the crossroads of positive or negative CX. Half of all consumers will leave a brand if they have a poor customer service encounter, even if they were previously loyal to that company.
Creating a customer-centric culture while placing the right employees in the right place at the right time can go a long way toward helping deliver premier service. Brands can also take advantage of tools to help their customer service teams be more productive, efficient, and on task. Live chat helps many companies cut down the time it takes for customers to receive help and improve first-contact resolution. Self-service portals, knowledge bases, and videos can also let customers help themselves in lieu of or while they wait for additional assistance.
7. Connect with your customers
Many customer interactions with a brand are inbound. The customer has a question or issue and needs advice or a resolution to remain pleased with the product or service. But companies can also be proactive with their outbound messaging and create connections with customers that enhance engagement and loyalty while improving CX.
Keep all messaging, reactive or otherwise, clear and concise so customers can find what they need and continue on their way. This includes help articles and account access right alongside brand content and promotions. Maintain messaging that is customer-centric and relatable, placing the focus on the customer experience and outcomes beyond pure profits. The right messaging can also create an emotional connection with the customer, helping to underscore loyalty and empathy that places a brand in a positive light.
8. Take an omnichannel approach
The customer journey may not be as linear as marketers or business operators prefer. Instead, consider the different channels a customer uses to interact with a brand. From websites, social platforms, emails, hotlines, and even brick-and-mortar locations, customers are omnichannel, which means CX needs to consider this approach as well.
Companies can benefit from keeping their brand voice consistent across different marketing and contact channels. When a customer feels that an entire team is on the same page, it can help them appreciate the experience even more. In fact, 90% of customers expect a consistent experience with a brand, regardless of the channel they choose to connect through.
And for those nervous that an omnichannel approach could create silos across internal operations, tools are the solution. Project management, content management, and customer relationship management platforms can bring everyone together in a single place.
9. Tap into artificial intelligence
It might seem like a buzzword, but AI is here to stay. More than three-quarters of companies are engaged with AI already, and a Gartner study revealed that venture capital firms have invested more than $1.7 billion in generative AI. Most prominently, AI enables the use of chatbots that support customer service, allowing brands to provide faster and around-the-clock support while also automating responses with more personalized content.
Of course, AI should not completely replace human intervention in customer service. But it can empower existing employees to perform more efficiently and effectively. Tools can provide triggered content, automation, and optimization while preparing customer service agents to precisely address customer concerns. There are also software applications that can test which content performs best to allow leaders to curate the customer journey based on what clicks with a target audience.
10. Create metrics and track ROI
Most businesses have no shortage of analytics and reporting tools to determine business goals and define success. But many brands overlook key metrics tied directly to the customer experience as an indicator of business health and growth. When it comes to monitoring CX drivers, such as Net Promoter Score, only 15% of leaders said the way their company was measuring CX was fully satisfactory. Monitoring CX drivers can be one of the most important metrics for a company that is struggling to retain customers or deliver positive customer experiences.
Other CX metrics leaders can explore include social media reach, shares, and impressions. This can indicate how engaged a customer base is with a given product or service offering. Time spent on a website or critical webpages can also be telling regarding what is resonating with buyers.
The metrics a company decides to measure should ultimately be tied to the goals set. But without tracking progress against those targeted accomplishments, leaders will have trouble defining with certainty whether they are providing a quality customer experience.
Improve your customer experience
Delivering a positive customer experience can have major impacts on business growth, success, and the bottom line. Great CX helps retain customers who have already made a purchase from a brand, making them feel valued in every interaction. It also helps increase profits by maximizing the customer lifetime value and prompting recommendations that come from brand advocates. Increased engagement often yields increased conversions, making the customer experience a key priority for all business leaders.
For leaders looking to formalize, centralize, and optimize their customer experience, look no further than the industry-leading platform, Adobe Experience Manager.
Combine how you manage and monitor your digital assets across campaigns while offering timely and personalized experiences to your customers. Experience Manager helps leaders manage omnichannel operations while bringing together team members for a seamless experience. The platform also uses AI to power, evaluate, and scale processes, making customer experiences more impactful and improving overall ROI.
Adobe Experience Manager is designed to help users take CX to new heights.
Learn more about this all-in-one platform by watching our brief overview video.